02/07/2011 at 01:00 AM EST
My mortality is closer at hand," Jeff Bridges says bluntly. "There's this impulse-whatever you want to do, do it now." At 61, the Oscar winner-who followed the showbiz path trod by his late parents, Lloyd and Dorothy-has already logged over 60 films, including iconic roles in 1971's The Last Picture Show and 1998's The Big Lebowski (the Dude!), along with his most recent turn as a grizzled U.S. marshal in True Grit, which earned him a sixth Oscar nomination. But Bridges' greatest achievement is his 33-year marriage to wife Susan, 58, with whom he has three daughters. Finding balance between his many passions-among them music and photography-and his family "is like riding a bike," says the versatile actor, who shared some of his own photos on the following pages. "Sue keeps the whole thing together. It's so great to be on a tandem bicycle!"
Exceptionally close to his parents and older brother Beau, 69, Bridges recalls that while growing up, his mom "had this thing she did for her kids she called 'time.' She did whatever each kid wanted for an hour each day. She was spectacular." As for his daughters with wife Susan, he says, "they're my real trophies."
He was 22 when he got his first Oscar nod for The Last Picture Show: "It was a one-of-a-kind movie." As for his stoner in The Big Lebowski, "I never smoked one joint during that whole [shoot]!"